5 Essential Campervan Gadgets
Living in a campervan can be a strange adjustment. You are faced with the task of drastically scaling down your living space to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. Your whole life is now within arm’s reach and many facilities you once thought of as essential are a luxury!
Fortunately, overlanders are a prudent bunch and they have created many solutions to make life on the road easier. For example, there are some essential campervan gadgets that can solve electricity, gas, and WIFI connectivity problems. To ensure you’re ready for van life, make sure to invest in these essential campervan gadgets before you hit the road and don’t go into your adventures lacking!
1 . Jackery Portable Charger
One of the big problems of living in a campervan is the absence of electricity. This is essential to surviving comfortably as a source of power allows you to charge electronics and power devices. There are a few different ways of getting power, but the cost varies as does the difficulty of installation.
You can wire up a deep cycle battery to the alternator so the battery charges while you drive. This requires some electrical know-how, and it can be quite technical. As a simpler solution, you can buy a portable charger such as a Jackery. This is one of the essential campervan gadgets as it can be easily charged through the cigarette lighter while driving or through a wall plug.
The Jackery can then power any electronics such as laptops, cameras, and phones. It has USB ports and plug sockets to fit a variety of inputs. Depending on the voltage size you buy, you could also power your lights and a small fridge.
2 . Solar Panels
Another key to solving your power problems are solar panels. Charging off your alternator is all well and good, but it requires you to drive for it to work. This is bad news for van lifers who enjoy camping off-grid for extended periods while using their electronics.
Fortunately, solar panels provide a handy fix. You can buy a portable solar panel which plugs into the Jackery and stores the solar charge for you. You can also buy small solar panels which charge individual products such as phones.
Solar panels are essential campervan gadgets, but they do vary in their effectiveness. You may have to invest more money in a better solar panel that can rapidly charge a battery even in poor light conditions. Bigger solar panels can be installed on the roof of your campervan and wired up to a battery inside.
3 . Portable Speaker
When you live in a campervan, there are many moments that are enriched by music. If you have chores to do such as cooking, cleaning, and washing, you may want to accompany these tasks with some music or radio shows. If you have a portable speaker, you can connect your phone via Bluetooth and listen away.
Portable speakers can be moved in and out of the vehicle. This is perfect for van living as you are often sitting, eating, and relaxing away from your van with the engine turned off. Having a speaker allows you to keep listening without disruption.
If you like movies or TV shows, you can link your speaker to your laptop and make a movie theatre for yourself in the evenings. During your downtime, you can also listen to podcasts for entertainment. A waterproof or shock-proof speaker is ideal for van life.
4 . Camp Stove
Cooking tools are essential campervan gadgets. You don’t have access to the same kitchen you’re used to, but you can set up a simple yet effective system that allows you to make tasty meals. A camp stove is the linchpin of this operation which makes it one of the most essential campervan gadgets to own.
You have two options for your cooking set-up (excluding campfire cooking). You can build a cooking area and have a stove permanently installed. This is then connected to a large propane tank which is filled up from gas stations or designated refill points.
Alternatively, you can buy a portable stove and use small disposable gas canisters. This is easier and faster to set up and it allows you to move your stove outside whenever you want to cook in nature. Initially, this method is cheaper, but it may cost you more in the long run as small gas canisters collectively cost more than filling up a large propane tank.
5 . Smartphone
A smartphone is a key part of everyday life. Aside from being used for social media, it has more important uses for overlanders. For that reason, it is another one of the essential campervan gadgets. By downloading apps such as Waze or Maps.me, you can use a smartphone to navigate along your road trips.
If you are unsure of where to camp, try downloading iOverlander. This is one of the best apps for van travellers. It is an interactive map filled with user-reviewed campsites, boondocking areas, and other important sites.
Smartphones are also great for taking photos of your adventures and for other leisure activities. You can download movies/shows or listen to music and podcasts whenever you’re driving. With all this value held in your pocket, it’s easy to see why a smartphone is one of the essential campervan gadgets.
This list of essential campervan gadgets is a great starting point for your van life adventures. The longer you spend living in your van, the more apparent your needs will be. For example, you might want a fan to cool you down in hot weather or a heater to warm you on those cold nights. You may want a solar shower or a camping table.
All these gadgets have value and depending on your campervan lifestyle, you may find more use of one than the other. Start by buying a few of these essential campervan gadgets then continue to build your collection over time. That’s the key to van life, starting small and then adapting as you grow!